Washington DC is the heartbeat of America. The DC Area houses many of America’s political and military command centers including The White House, the Capitol Building, and the Pentagon. You will also see many monuments honoring the greatest leaders of our country and the most memorable moments in our history. You can visit the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Most of these memorials are on the National Mall but there are many memorials and statues all around Washington DC.
I have been to Washington DC quite a few times in my lifetime. Unfortunately, I haven’t been there recently. When I was a kid, my parents and I would visit my aunt and uncle who lived in Virginia, just outside of DC. Sometime during every visit, there would be a trip to the National Mall to visit the memorials. We would ride the elevator to the top of the Washington Monument and take the stairs back down. We would climb the steps leading up to the Lincoln Memorial. Being a little kid, Lincoln was humongous. I’m sure even as adult, the memorial would be breath-taking.
I have been to Washington DC once since my childhood. A co-worker and I were in the DC area courtesy of the travel agency that we used for travel plans for employees. Since my childhood visits to DC, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial had been erected. The memorial is a v-shaped wall with the names of the veterans who are missing or were killed in the Vietnam War. There were volunteers around who could tell you where a name was located on the wall. It was July, very hot and I was covered in sweat from walking around all day. When I walked along this wall, I was suddenly covered with goose bumps. The enormity, the grandeur, the sorrow that I felt was overwhelming. I don’t know if it was because the Vietnam War was something that happened in my lifetime that made it so real. Maybe it was because the co-worker I was with had a relative whose name was on that wall and we found his name. Maybe it was because I had an uncle who served in the Vietnam War and I was fortunate enough to have him home and alive. Walking along this wall with thousands and thousands of names was one of those moments that you never, ever forget.
It is hard to describe the feeling that filled me that day, that moment. I felt an enormous amount of American pride. I felt an overwhelming sadness for the soldiers on that wall. I felt an incomprehensible sorrow for the families of those fallen soldiers. I felt my heart sink and my jaw drop. I felt my brain searching for words, any words to explain this surreal experience.
Washington DC is more than America’s political headquarters and monuments. It is the home of Georgetown University and all the college town amenities such as shopping, restaurants, and nightclubs. You will also find the Smithsonian which is the largest and most incredible museum and keeper of American history.
I believe everyone should have the opportunity to visit Washington DC at least once in their lifetime. It is truly a unique place to visit. It will be a trip that you will not forget, ever.